July 11, 2024

Travel In Bali

Travel & Tour Tips

14 tips for travelling the world on a tight budget

14 tips for travelling the world on a tight budget
14 tips for travelling the world on a tight budget

 You can do this. You can see the world on a tight budget. You can take a seemingly small amount of cash and still have amazing travel experiences. Or, you can take a large amount of cash and make it last a long, long time.

Travel on a tight budget is most definitely doable, even in this time of inflation and high airfares, and it’s eminently enjoyable. This is a style of travel that brings you closer to a destination, that encourages you to do as locals do, and comes with huge rewards.

The trick is to ensure you manage your money properly, cut corners where they can be cut, and spend when you need to. Follow this advice, and you will be seeing the world and saving your pennies in no time.

Make a budget

Before you travel, actually sit down and make a budget. Figure out how much money you have to spend, how much time you want to be away, where you want to visit, and then just do the basic sums to come up with an amount you can afford to spend each day. This will inform a lot of your decision-making as you travel, and will be a handy barometer to track your progress.

Just remember this old truism of travel: take all of the clothes you think you’ll need, and halve them; take all of the money you think you’ll need, and double it.

Sign up to newsletters

Well before you travel – in fact before you’ve even decided where to go – get yourself signed up to newsletters for any budget airlines or other travel providers you think you might be able to use. That way you will always hear about any sale fares being offered, and can jump on those when they’re available.

Book in advance

Even without those sale fares, booking in advance, particularly for flights, will generally save you a lot of money. For overseas travel, try to book flights at least six months in advance. For domestic travel, aim for a least a few months.

This also goes for hotels and domestic transfers. Even booking tourist attractions and other entry fees online in advance will generally save you money.

Look for travel passes

Once you have decided on your destination and your timings, it’s worth looking into local transport passes. Japan’s JR Pass is probably the most famous of these – a seven-day or two-week pass allowing all the travel you like on Japan Rail trains and other forms of transport – though the Eurail Pass in Europe is also justifiably well known.

Both of these passes, and similar products in other countries, could save you a heap on transport costs, depending on how often you will be moving around, and where you would like to go.

Search for discount codes

Any time you’re about to book something – a hotel, an attraction or similar – and you see a box that says “discount code”, the first thing you should do is plug the name of whatever it is you’re about to book, and “discount code” into Google and see what comes up. There’s a good chance you will find one.

Manage your money

Tourist women in Barcelona paying contactless with credit card iStock image for Traveller. Re-use permitted.

Photo: iStock

Here is an absolutely fundamental way to keep unnecessary spending in check while you travel: ensure you can access your money, and spend it, in ways that don’t attract too many fees.

Avoid dedicated “travel money” cards, which can make it expensive to reconvert unused funds once you’re home, and instead us a debit or credit card that doesn’t attract foreign transaction or conversion fees (there are several in Australia).

Make sure, too, that you have a credit card to use for any transactions that involve a holding deposit (hotels, rental cars), so your own money isn’t being restricted.

Embrace hostels

hostel

Hostels are the perfect accommodation for travellers on a budget. They’re also so much better than the flea-bitten hostels of old, with modern conveniences, social areas, work spaces and plenty more. Plus, you can choose your style of accommodation, from shared dorms with a few people or a lot of people, to private rooms with ensuite bathrooms.

Another key feature of most hostels is that they have kitchen facilities, which will allow you to cook your own food when you want to. In some countries that won’t save you much; in others, it will make a huge difference.

Take the bus

One of the keys to saving money is to do as locals do. How do locals get around their own country? Do they fly? Probably not. Do they take the train? Maybe. Or do they get the bus? This is highly likely.

Do your research, and if bus trips are cheapest, while also being safe and reliable, then that’s how you should be getting around. In the likes of South America, you will find bus services that are like business-class cabins on planes, with lie-flat seats and waiter service, meaning overnight trips will make a lot of sense.

To get around cities themselves, try to walk where possible.

Eat from the streets

Japanese street food in Tokyo cr: iStock
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xxAsiaPacific Asia-Pacific region cover ; text by Ben Groundwater

Photo: iStock

Street food is your friend. This is often the cheapest form of dining in any given place, and it’s also a perfect snapshot of local culture and cuisine. If street food is a thing in the place you’re staying, you should be eating it.

Visit affordable countries

Not all countries are created equal, particularly when we’re talking about affordability. The money you spend in a single day in, say, London, will probably last you a week in, say, Saigon.

This shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor when it comes to your travel plans, but it’s something to think about. If you are really strapped for cash, but you still want to do lots of activities and eat nice food and stay in good accommodation, then turn your focus to countries that tend to be on the cheaper side.

Visit secondary destinations

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Vietnam Wendy Wu

Halong Bay, Vietnam. Photo: Supplied

Speaking of London – yes, it’s notoriously expensive. So is Paris. So is Barcelona. So is New York. So is Kyoto.

The answer here is to consider “secondary destinations”, cities that may not be as famous as the big-ticket destinations, yet offer similar experiences at a fraction of the cost. So, instead of London, spend more time in Manchester. Instead of Paris, try Lyon. Instead of Barcelona, spend time in Girona. And so on.

Travel off-peak

If you’re travelling on a budget there is no way you should be travelling at peak times (which are often summer, though sometimes winter in destinations that are wet and steamy in the warmer months). You will save a lot of money, both on airfares and on the ground, if you choose to travel off-peak.

If that’s going to be too hot, or too cold, or means you miss out on key experiences, at least travel in shoulder seasons.

Pack light

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Photo: iStock

This makes total sense for a number of reasons, not least that it will save you plenty of cash. Pack as light as you can, restricting yourself to hand luggage only if possible. Many airlines charge extra for checked luggage, meaning those with just carry-on will save a bundle.

Do things that are free

Two Young happy girls wearing sun glasses lying on a grass and have fun in front of the Bundestag building in Berlin. Studying abroad and travel in Germany concept credit: istock
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Photo: iStock

This is such a simple but effective way of saving money. Wherever you are – let’s say it’s Bangkok – just Google “free activities in Bangkok” and see what comes up. There will inevitably be a plethora of attractions and experiences that will cost you nothing.